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Measuring the change

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Javier from Hammonton, NJ:
What is the difference between a pass-rusher and a run-stopper? What are the major qualifications, like speed, and which possess what?

Vic: Think of it like this: If players were kitchen appliances, your garbage disposal would be the pass-rusher and your refrigerator would be the run-stopper. In other words, one gotta move and it's good if the other one doesn't move.

Jon from Ocala, FL:
You keep saying a possession receiver should not be drafted in the top 10. Why not? Keenan McCardell can be considered a possession receiver and he's been to the Pro Bowl, has two Super Bowl rings and has averaged 80 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving per year (with Jacksonville and Tampa Bay). I think if the player gets you first downs and makes your team better, he's worth a top 10 pick. Your thoughts?

Vic: Keenan McCardell was a 12th-round pick.

Jody from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Vic, in your last column you were asked about undrafted rookies. I think you made a mistake when you compared it to "college recruiting with money." I believe you meant "college recruiting but with less money."

Vic: Jody, you da man.

Keith from Jacksonville:
Great coverage of the draft, and I think your evaluations were very fair. In percentage terms, how much do you think the Jaguars have rebuilt their roster from the dark days of early 2002 to now?

Vic: Good question, so let's do some examination: Of the 22 players in the starting lineup for the Jaguars on opening day in 2002, 14 are no longer with the team; the other eight are still starters. Of the 53 players on the opening-day roster that year, 33 are no longer with the team. Percentage-wise, that means the starting lineup has undergone a 64 percent change, while the roster has experienced a 57 percent change.

Mark from Jacksonville:
General consensus is that you grade a draft class after its third year. What would you grade the 2000 and 2001 draft classes?

Vic: The 2000 draft class, which was headed by R.J. Soward, has only three players (Brad Meester, Kiwaukee Thomas and Rob Meier) who remain on the Jaguars roster. Danny Clark signed with Oakland, so we can't discount his value as a seventh-round pick, but Meester is the only other starter. The Jaguars got some service out of third-round pick T.J. Slaughter and at one point he appeared to be a long-term fixture at linebacker. I'll also factor in that the Jaguars were picking 29th in a draft that fell off dramatically from the 20th pick on. The second round is full of players who would qualify as disappointments or busts. Of all the second-round picks, Meester is clearly one of the best. The thing that really hurts the Jaguars in recalling the 2000 draft is that a local kid, Laveranues Coles, was available in the third round and the Jaguars didn't take him, and that underscored the mistake of having selected Soward. I have to downgrade the Jaguars hard for the Soward debacle, but Meester is a better pick than people know. Clark and Meier in the seventh round allow that draft to save face with a C-. The 2001 draft gets high marks for Marcus Stroud and Maurice Williams in the first two rounds. Tom Coughlin should get a lot of credit for having established the foundation of the Jaguars' current recovery in his last two drafts. But the '01 class crashed and burned after the second round. No one else from that year is left on the Jaguars roster (Marlon McCree is with Houston). Stroud and Williams were great picks, but the Jaguars didn't get enough out of the '01 draft, and I'll never get over drafting a punter in the fifth round and a long-snapper in the seventh round. I'll give it a B-.

Paul from Alpharetta, GA:
I have not asked a question in a while so please read this one and if you would spell it out for me in your own words, because in case you can't tell by the grammar, I ain't the sharpest crayon in the box. Here it is: Was Kevin Johnson not a proven playmaker? I know he was not as young as all of us would have liked, but perhaps he should have had at least one offseason to show what he could do next to Jimmy Smith. I know we are building a new, young squad, but could you please break it down so even a simpleton like me can understand?

Vic: Kevin Johnson left Cleveland with a rap for lacking toughness. It followed him to Jacksonville.

David from Port Orange, FL:
Hey, Vic, you intrigued me with what you stated on yesterday's great "Ask Vic." You answered a question about Reggie Williams becoming the X receiver in time. How long do you believe it will take him?

Vic: Jimmy Smith is the X. Reggie Williams will begin at Z. When Jimmy is no longer the X, I would expect Williams would become that player. I don't know when that will happen.

ZZ from Jacksonville:
Why do you say the Jaguars will be division title contenders? Will one year make enough difference in the performance of Leftwich to make that happen?

Vic: I expect the Jaguars to be AFC South title contenders this year because I believe their roster has gotten better, while salary-cap problems have weakened the Titans and the Colts. You're right, Byron Leftwich has to improve his performance, and I believe he will.

Florian from Jacksonville:
I thought Del Rio was big on speed, yet, the fastest player they drafted was Chris Thompson at 4.52. Just wondering, what kind of speed do Juran Bolden and Rashean Mathis have?

Vic: Draft prospects run the 40 over and over, yet, people only use the one time that allows them to make their point. Ask Chris Thompson what he runs the 40 in and he'll probably tell you 4.35. Meanwhile, there are probably scouts who have a 4.6 on him. Somewhere in the middle is the truth. But, yes, Jack Del Rio is big on speed. All coaches are big on speed. Today's game is all about speed. So was yesterday's game. And this much hasn't changed in all of the years I've covered the NFL: Fast is better than slow. Juran Bolden and Rashean Mathis are big, fast guys, and that's the perfect combination.

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